You’ve finally found a tenant, or tenants, that fit your criteria and the lease is signed, congrats! Now, its time to dive into how to keep your great tenants long term so that you can reduce time and costs spent on turnovers, and increase your overall net operating income. Not only will keeping great tenants in for the long haul reduce a lot of the headache that comes with screening new tenants every year, but it’ll also reduce the costs incurred each time a lease ends. The average cost of each rental turnover is around $1,650, broken down by the costs below.
Every moment the unit sits empty, you’re losing money you could be making with a great long term tenant. Just with most things in life, a little bit goes a long way in building a healthy, lasting relationship with your renters. We’ve put together 5 key ways to help in reducing turnover and smooth out some of the operational tasks that come with managing properties.
1. Welcome Them In With Open Arms
Start things off in the right direction by leaving a “Welcome” gift for your new tenants. An informational binder that includes everything they’ll need to know regarding the apartment or home shows you’re organized and that you care. A welcome gift or two will set the tone for the tenant to care as much as you do, which usually smooths out all communication.
Here are some easy ideas for what you could include in your welcome gift:
A few gift ideas to include along with an informational binder would be:
- Coffee Beans
- Cleaning Supplies
- A Gift Card to a Local Favorite
- A Bottle of Wine and/or Wine Glasses
- A Snack Pack for Moving Day Energy
2. Quickly Resolve Maintenance Issues
In an article outlining the property management trends to watch in 2019, it’s pointed out that residents will always want the basics – responsive and efficient maintenance teams. Fewer things are more frustrating than having maintenance requests ignored for long periods of time.
Staying on top of maintenance can be less time consuming if you stay on top of your yearly inspections and preventative maintenance.
For a preventative maintenance checklist, read our article on Preventative Maintenance: The Unsung Hero of Property Management.
Dealing with maintenance emergencies in the middle of the night or outside of normal office hours can be a nightmare for every involved party if there isn’t a solid operations in place. At Latchel, we provide our clients with 24/7 emergency maintenance service for all of their properties.
Tenants are given a dedicated Latchel line where they’ll be directed to a Latchel team member who will troubleshoot the issue. If necessary we then dispatch one of our trusted Latchel contractors. After the issue has been resolved we follow up to ensure everything went as planned.
With a 4.7 out of 5 star rating for tenant satisfaction, we’ve found how important having an efficient maintenance operation in place can be.
3. Be Easy to Work With
This is a given when it comes to any relationship. The less complicated things are, the easier life is for every party involved.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Da Vinci
Simplicity doesn’t mean there isn’t work involved in creating a flexible and smooth process for tenants, both when they move in and throughout their lease term. Make the process simple by ensuring they have easy access to all the information they’ll need throughout the entirety of their rental.
Remember to keep the human factor when working with your tenants. If you know you have a great tenant, be willing to compromise on a few things if you know your tenant will be respectful. Being willing to work with the tenant on any given potential issues will go a long way. Strike a balance between a flexible but assertive policy.
4. Make Security a Priority
On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs chart, safety and security is right above the basic need for food and shelter. Making safety a priority in your units will go a long way in keeping residents long term. Even if it costs money to install top security features of the home or apartment building, the costs will be worth it if your tenants feel like they can make the residence a long term home.
Theft and robbery happen in even the safest of neighborhoods so ensure that the property can be easily secured. If it’s an apartment building, parking garage gates, secured fob access, and security cameras on the premises are highly desired. If it’s a home, consider installing a home security system.
5. Encourage a Longer Lease
If you know you want a tenant to stay long term, consider offering a lower price on rent for a longer than standard lease term. Stay on top of the renewals as well. Remind your tenants at least 90 days before their lease is up so they can start thinking about renewal. This gives plenty of time for them to bring up any concerns they might have with renewing, and time for you to address those concerns before they decide to take off. If they decide to not renew, this gives you plenty of time to prepare, find a new tenant, and shorten the amount of time that the property sits vacant.
With over half of rented units being turned over on a yearly basis, you’ll inevitably experience frequent tenant turnover, though all of the above 5 practices will help keep that turnover low and, in the grand scheme of things, improve tenant/manager relations, reviews, and business.